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OPEC Might Increase Output at Meeting Today

From Reuters

Under pressure from importing nations, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries begins a two-day meeting today that could increase output just as fuel demand starts to buckle under the weight of high prices.

Crude has fallen from a record $70.85 a barrel in the three weeks since Katrina tore into U.S. gulf refineries, losing $1.75 on Friday to close at $63.

“For OPEC the price is still very high,” OPEC President Sheik Ahmad al-Sabah told reporters in Vienna.

Ministers will consider a proposal by Sheik Ahmad to add 500,000 barrels a day, or 2%, to existing limits of 28 million barrels. Iraq, with no quota, pumps an additional 2 million barrels.

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But OPEC is warning that any cartel agreement may not actually deliver more crude because global refining is already stretched to full capacity.

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Today

* OPEC oil ministers open a two-day meeting in Vienna.

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* Sentencing of former Tyco Chief Executive L. Dennis Kozlowski and former Chief Financial Officer Mark Swartz.

Tuesday

* Federal Reserve policymaking panel meets to set interest rates.

* The Commerce Department releases August new-housing permits.

Thursday

* The Conference Board releases its index of leading economic indicators for August.


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